Varsity Blues

These are thrilling times for Rutgers sports fans—as long as they follow football or basketball.

These are thrilling times for Rutgers sports fans—as long as they follow football or basketball.

Citing state budget cuts, the university plans to drop six varsity sports: men’s swimming, diving, crew, and tennis; and men’s and women’s fencing. This despite the fact that a group called the Coalition to Save our Sports has collected nearly $1 million in an effort to keep the teams alive for at least another season.

“What bothers me is that we’ve raised the money, and that’s not good enough,” says Alexis Jemal, a 2003 Rutgers graduate and elite fencer currently hoping to make the 2008 World Cup fencing team. “The school is eliminating tons of alumni who could one day give back to the school.”

Jemal, now a Rutgers law student, reveals that she “absolutely would have gone somewhere else” for college had Rutgers not had a fencing team.

This raises the question: When students like Jemal must leave New Jersey to develop their talents, can Rutgers really be considered the state university?

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